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Nov 26, 2014
Turkey Day is here! In a political year filled with turkeys, I can still find aspects of South Dakota politics for which to be thankful. If you're game, here are some political items I'll happily toast at the table with you this year.
1. I'm thankful fellow Madison HS debate alumnus Rick Weiland is signaling a desire to stick around and stay involved in South Dakota politics. Sure, he got beat in the Senate election, but he mounted an ambitious statewide campaign that can open the door to conversations and useful campaign connections for 2016. We Dems should resist the impulse to throw losers overboard and instead learn from failure. If Weiland is willing to help, let him help!
2. Ditto for Larry Pressler. He proved himself an intelligent policy wonk throughout the campaign, and now he sounds like he wants to lead more conversations with South Dakotans about policy and practical political problem-solving. In that noble and neglected cause, we can use all the help we can get.
3. I'm thankful Mike Rounds is headed to Washington... solely because it will give us a chance to test the Pressler hypothesis that national media will now be motivated to look into the corruption and illegal activity that took place under Rounds's watch in South Dakota's EB-5 program. I don't cheer a wounded senator, but I do cheer the pursuit of truth.
4. I'm thankful my party's poor performance in the midterm election has motivated some grassroots activists to mount their own effort to build resources for Democrats in 2016.
5. I'm thankful that, once again, South Dakota voters demonstrated that Democrats can win on policy.
6. I'm thankful that political fakers Annette Bosworth and Chad Haber disappeared from the general election scene. Now if only South Dakota's schemiest political couple would use their ongoing fundraising to pay the employees and contractors they've stiffed.
7. I'm thankful Marty Jackley has not taken his status as the most popular Republican in South Dakota as a mandate to impose martial law on bloggers critical of the Attorney General's office.
8. I'm thankful Dennis Daugaard says this year was his last election. A governor who doesn't have his eye on the next election and the millions need to win it may be a little more focused on solving problems for all of us in Pierre.
9. While I lament low voter turnout, I'm thankful that the 40,000-voter decline in participation from the 2010 midterm means that we'll need 2,000 fewer signatures to put laws on the ballot in 2016 and 2018. Sometimes less democracy means more democracy!
10. I'm thankful that, no matter the outcome of the election, I still find plenty of fellow South Dakotans who want to read, discuss, and debate South Dakota politics.
Thank you, friends! Now please pass the green-bean casserole.
Editor's Note: Cory Heidelberger is our political columnist from the left. For a conservative perspective on politics, please look for columns by Dr. Ken Blanchard on this site.
Cory Allen Heidelberger writes the Madville Times political blog. He grew up on the shores of Lake Herman. He studied math and history at SDSU and information systems at DSU, and has taught math, English, speech, and French at high schools East and West River.